Startups that have a great marketing plan and product are leaps and bounds ahead of many starting a business. One of the first questions that’s posed is whether the company is going to take on the marketing themselves or outsource their marketing to an agency. The fact is that both of these options have their merit as well as disadvantages. Taking on your marketing as a start-up founder allows you to control each aspect of the marketing campaign, but this can be risky since many start-up founders might not be too well-versed in marketing.
Outsourcing your startup marketing can be risky as well as not all marketing companies are created equal. With a small budget, one marketing company that doesn’t deliver then cash flow can be limited without any return.
Self-education in the marketing realm is challenging but very possible. There are training programs for nearly every part of online marketing like PPC, Google Adwords, and affiliate marketing. If you want to learn Adwords or PPC, then you should review which classes/certifications garner the best results. After you have self-educated, it is important to remember that your training was not industry specific. For this reason, it is essential to try a few different approaches to things like content marketing, SEO and, PPC.
Finding the tactics with the most substantial ROI might take a few months to find the optimal process. The education can also be offered to your staff as this will help them understand the marketing strategy in a more profound way. Many of these classes can be written off come tax time so do not look at this education as money spent, but rather an investment in the company as well as its people.
Become an Industry Thought Leader
The founder of a start-up generally gets quite a few responses when outreaching to industry publications. For this reason, you should spearhead becoming a thought leader in your industry. This doesn’t mean that you always have to write articles, but it can mean being a part of a podcast or agreeing to be interviewed. The companies of thought leaders in an industry tend to get leads just because of the highly revered name of the founder. As the founder, you should take it as a personal mission to become widely known throughout an industry.
Other opportunities to establish yourself in an industry is that of conferences. At specific conventions, there are openings to speak about something specific which can do a multitude of good for the speaker. This presentation can be shared as well as a substantial increase in sales can be achieved after the presentation. As we all know conferences are a hotbed of deals being made so giving a great presentation could seal a massive deal for your startup.
Build Your Team
Building a great team can be difficult, but it has numerous advantages. This team will have no learning curve when it comes to the brand that you want to build as this can be instilled in them with training and reminders. An in-house team will also be directly accountable, while a contractor can push responsibility onto their employees. This team in-house is an investment; but with the conversions the marketing team can bring in can be an excellent basis for the beginning of a start-up.
How to build the perfect team:
• Find a great content strategist who can keep your content calendar exciting and informative.
• A social media coordinator isn’t always needed, but someone who writes excellent social media copy is. This can be a contract or piece-by-piece position. A copywriter you have on board can do a month’s worth of tweets using Hootsuite within a few hours. Automating all of the posts should be done carefully as this post points out what could go wrong.
• Talented writers are a must in an online marketing campaign, so find a few contractors while having a writer or two in-house for rush assignments.
• A person who specializes in other types of content like video or infographics can be quite valuable. Content shouldn’t just be in written form so diversify your team with a person who specializes in these content mediums.
Take Advantage of Free Marketing
Social media can market every business regardless of size or industry. The fact social media is also free makes it necessary to create social media accounts for your start-up. This can be a great place to engage with those who might be potential customers. Creating a buzz via social media for a start-up can be invaluable. Name recognition is something all start-ups strive for during their infancy. Social media profiles are often some of the first Google results for a company. Engaging with others in your industry can be an excellent way for the company to network as well as possibly drum up some new business.
Other free marketing opportunities are things like directories as well as forums. These are not as effective as social media, but without cost, there is no real risk. Subreddits are a great place to get real feedback about products or ideas. Even though this isn’t marketing it can be used as a test group as many people on Reddit are there to help and educate.
Taking on marketing, in-house and personally, as a founder of a start-up can be quite a responsibility. Build the best team possible to market as well as establish yourself individually in the industry and watch the leads/sales stream in. Marketing in-house isn’t always an option, but it should at least be considered.
Feature Image Credit: (iStock/julief514)